Back in the 1980s, Antonie Bodley was a youngster with a new friend. Teddy Ruxpin was a robotic, storytelling teddy bear that never grew cranky or impatient. Its eyes blinked. Its mouth moved. And the bestselling toy of 1985 engaged kids with stories, songs, and comforting pronouncements about friendship and camaraderie. Bodley, now 34 and a WSU IIDP graduate, knows that’s where her fascination with robotics and artificial intelligence began to take root. Read More
2017 Ph.D. graduate Mason Burley finds ways to improve mental health treatment
By Amir Gilmore
Imagine the endless research possibilities and complex problems you could solve in a flexible graduate program tailored to your individual interests. Spokane native and 2017 Ph.D. graduate Mason Burley realized the possibilities in WSU’s individual interdisciplinary doctoral degree program (IIDP), where he researched mental health treatment through the lens of epidemiology, biostatistics, health administration and policy, and public health.
“The IIDP allows students to draw upon the strengths and resources from three different departments,” says Mason. “We can ultimately address critical problems that may not be unique to a single discipline.”
Mason graduated May 5 at the Spokane campus commencement ceremony.
When considering a Ph.D program, Mason talked with Kenn Daratha associate professor in the College of Nursing and a 2004 WSU IIDP graduate, and decided the IIDP program would be a good fit for his research interests.
“The program is designed to be flexible,” says Mason. “There is a lot of balancing between engaging with your committee members and communicating your research goals— but that is the nature of interdisciplinary research.”
Mason’s interest was mental health treatment. He recognized that only about half of the individuals with mental health conditions were receiving psychiatric treatment, so he focused his dissertation research on improving acute in-patient psychiatric treatment by developing a risk profile for individuals who face recurrent psychiatric hospitalizations over a short period.
“I am interested in access and availability and engagement in mental health treatment,” says Mason.
In addition to the flexibility of the program, students also benefit from strong academic support from faculty that span the three disciplines. Mason’s mentor and committee chair, Kenn Daratha, advised him on scholarly research and authored several publications with him. John Roll, vice dean for research in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, was a staunch supporter of Mason’s research, and Mel Haberman, professor in the College of Nursing, helped with grant development and research writing. Jae Kennedy, professor and Chair of Health Policy and Administration, gave Mason the opportunity to teach statistics to his graduate students. Graduate School Associate Dean Patricia Sturko and Associate Dean Lisa Gloss were essential in guiding Mason through interdisciplinary research and providing a space to cultivate ideas. With the support of his committee, Mason was the recipient of the 2015-16 Russ and Anne Fuller Fellowship.
“The IIDP gave me the opportunity and confidence to pursue research without any preconceived constraints,” says Mason. “During my time in the program, I really valued the expertise of my committee members and looked to their suggestions about how I could apply discipline-specific knowledge to address overarching issues affecting behavioral health policy and treatment access.”
Last December, Mason began working for Premier, Inc., a hospital-owned quality improvement organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He works specifically for a division of the company called Premier Research Institute, which interfaces with foundations, university researchers and federal agencies to complete health outcomes research.
For more information about IIDP, and what students are researching, visit the IIDP website.
The Graduate School 2016 Annual Report is now available. To read enrollment, degrees awarded, graduate school diversity, scholarships and assistantships as well as Graduate School initiatives and student success, download the PDF HERE.
The Graduate School hosted the third annual Evening of Excellence on April 13, 2017 at Banyans on the Ridge to honor 53 graduate student scholarship recipients. In addition to the student scholarships, the Graduate School also awarded the second Graduate School Mentor Academy Award for Excellence. Read More.
By Cheryl Reed
The WSU Association for Faculty Women has awarded four graduate students for their ongoing leadership, research and exceptional academic performance.
During its annual ceremony on April 6, the association presented its AFW Founders Award, Harriett B. Rigas Award and Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award. The recipients were nominated by WSU faculty, staff and peers. Read More
By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer
Five Washington State University students have been chosen for National Science Foundation graduate research fellowships. The prestigious awards have trained generations of American scientists and engineers, including Nobel laureates. Read More
By Cheryl Reed
The WSU Graduate School has awarded Associate Professor Phyllis Eide the 2017 Graduate School Mentor Academy Award for Excellence for her work in mentoring graduate students. Eide has been a faculty member in the College of Nursing on the WSU Spokane campus since 2002, and a member of the Graduate School Mentor Academy since 2009.
“When I found out I had won the award, I just about fell off my chair,” said Eide. “I am gratified beyond belief. It is one of the highlights of my year.”
The Graduate Mentor Academy is a group of faculty who have volunteered to assist students during the most challenging aspects of their program, including preliminary examinations and defenses. The Graduate School established the Graduate Mentor Academy to provide students an unbiased and supportive presence during exams and defenses—someone to ensure that university policies and procedures are followed and correct protocol is observed. For example, Mentor Academy faculty will collect ballots, make sure that no committee member leaves during a defense, and assist in creating a comfortable test environment for the student.
“Logistically, taking exams and defending can be very difficult for students,” says Bill Andrefsky, dean of the Graduate School. “People in the Graduate School programs department rely on faculty mentors to step up and serve students as advocates, either upon the student’s request, or for a student’s second exam attempt. Dr. Eide is one faculty who has always willingly served graduate students over the years—which is why I established this award last year. Faculty need to be recognized for their service.”
Faculty members volunteer for the Graduate Mentor Academy upon invitation from the Graduate School, and serve for a three-year term—although their term is often renewed.
“Dr. Eide mentored nine different students on two different test retakes this year,” says Mary Stormo, academic coordinator in the Graduate School. “She also met with committees and assisted in negotiating the swirling waters around students who were taking their exams for the second time. She helped work out the exam kinks with the department to ensure that fair testing was in place.”
Eide says that her presence at exams and defenses usually has a calming effect on the student, but that is not her only purpose. She also takes care of other more concrete tasks of the exam and defense process to make sure the process is comfortable and as stress-free as possible.
“I always arrive early to coordinate with the chair,” she says. “At the last event, I contacted the IT Department to make sure that all the technology was working correctly to prepare for electronic testing.”
In spite of the time commitment, Eide says that serving the students has been an honor.
Eide is an associate professor in the WSU College of Nursing in Spokane. She has been certified by American Nurses’ Credentialing Center in advanced practice nursing as a clinical nurse specialist in community health since 1992 and holds a certificate in Decision Making for Climate Change from the University of Washington (2010). Before entering academia in 1992 at University of Hawaii/Hilo, she worked in a wide variety of community settings, including positions in public health, migrant school nurse, Associate Director of Hawaii Nurses’ Association, and vocational rehabilitation. Her primary practice and research interests are rural health, global climate change, and public health.
“It takes a village for this kind of work,” says Eide, who plans to use the Graduate Mentor Academy award to fund her new research on climate change.
Eide will receive her award at the Graduate School Evening of Excellence event on April 13. This is the second year that the Graduate School has awarded the Graduate School Mentor Academy Award for Excellence. In 2016, Lisa McIntyre of the Department of Sociology won the first annual award.
By Cheryl Reed
The chemistry department recently joined 11 other Washington State University units that are participants in the Ph.D. fellowship program of ARCS Foundation Seattle. Achievement Rewards for College Scientists helps give WSU a competitive edge in recruiting top graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Read More